Improving the customer experience with e-commerce - Retail Council of Canada
Canadian Retailer Magazine | National | Digital Retail & Technology | Store Operations

Improving the customer experience with e-commerce

January 14, 2019
Improving the customer experience with e-commerce

How refining strategies through the lens of the consumer can differentiate your business from competitors

BY NADER HENIN, Director Digital Payments, Interac Corp

DIGITAL is transforming almost every industry and impacting how many run their business. Retail is no exception. Consumers have for years been moving online, and more recently to mobile devices, to make purchases. A person is no longer constrained to shopping in a store or from their home computer—they can make a purchase whenever and wherever they want. And they want a great customer experience when doing so.

In response to these changing consumer behaviours, the onset of the digital economy, and the impact of the mobile device, retailers are continually refining their focus and making their customer experiences faster, more intuitive, and more convenient. New developments such as in-app purchases, social commerce and online purchase with in-store pickup are just some of the ways retailers are adapting to the digital economy to better serve their customers.

So, how do retailers stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the evolving needs and priorities of consumers? One of the ways is to understand what is driving trends and behaviour in e-commerce and find new ways to adapt and meet your customers both online and on their phones.

E-commerce and mobile commerce growth in Canada

Online purchasing continues to grow significantly in Canada with no signs of slowing down. E-commerce purchases will make up 9 per cent of all retail sales in 2018, as 19.8 million digital buyers across Canada complete nearly $57 billion worth of purchases. Canadians also love to shop using their mobile phones—76 per cent own a smartphone and eMarketer predicts mobile transactions will make up 30 per cent of all ecommerce transactions in 2018. These numbers highlight the changing relationship between consumers and retailers.

Customer experience is the key differentiator

In order to capitalize on this continued growth, reviewing and refining your e-commerce and mobile strategy through the lens of the customer and their experience is key.

Payments is an integral part of any businesses’ e-commerce strategy, directly impacting the overall customer experience. The experience should make it easy for the customer to purchase a product, provide a consistent payment method and provide a great multichannel experience.

According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), customers shop online because it’s easy and convenient. Ease and convenience will depend on your business and the customers you service. As retailers consider their customer purchasing experience, they should be looking at how simple it is to pay for the product or service online.

Research shows that the way Canadians pay in-store is the way they want to pay online. Millennials in particular are currently using their debit card for many of their in-store purchases. This means that if a customer is accustomed to using their debit card at your brick-andmortar location, their preference will not change when they buy from you online. This becomes heightened for retailers where the in-store and online experience is blended—for example where a product can be purchased online and then picked up in-store.

A possible point of friction for customers in a multi-channel experience is returns. When a person buys a product online, they will want to return in-store. Because debit is accepted at POS, it makes it easier for the consumer and the in-store staff to process the return, thereby improving the overall customer experience.

And when it comes to today’s customer experience, security has to be top-of-mind for the retailer. Offering consumers a secure and trusted payment method is equally important and has to be balanced with a great customer experience.


Percentage of Canadians who own a smartphone

Estimated percentage of all retail sales in Canada in 2018 that will be purchased through e-commerce

The number of digital buyers across Canada

The estimated value of purchases made via e-commerce in 2018.

Estimated percentage of e-commerce transactions that will be made with mobile in 2018

Source: eMarketer

A trusted, low cost solution

Brands today are under more scrutiny than ever when it comes to building and maintaining trust with their customers. At Interac, we are focused on helping Canadian retailers connect with their customers through payment solutions that are trusted, low cost and secure. With Interac Debit, retailers benefit from real-time transactions processing, and chargebacks never occur. We are also one of the lowest-cost payment acceptance options.

For mobile and e-commerce transactions, we help offer security and a smooth customer experience through solutions that leverage our Interac Token Service Provider (TSP). Tokenization protects customer’s sensitive financial information by replacing it with a randomly generated sequence of numbers that is unique to the customer, their account and device. This removes the worry of businesses around PCI compliance while providing their customers with secure, seamless payment options.

In a digital landscape, retailers must embrace change to make it easy and convenient for consumers to spend money with them. An agile e-commerce strategy is critical to enabling a seamless customer experience, building trust, and meeting consumers where they are today—online and on their mobile phones.